Hollenbeck: A memorable Thanksgiving | TSLN.com

Hollenbeck: A memorable Thanksgiving

Yvonne Hollenbeck

Thanksgiving seems to be almost forgotten anymore and to me, that is a sad situation. I recall, as a child, when Thanksgiving was almost as important as Christmas. We most generally would gather at either of my grandparents' homes, or host all the relatives at our house. There seemed to be a lot of cousins to play with and we would have a wonderful time. Fast forward to today and you will find few homes hosting a family Thanksgiving celebration, as the day is usually consumed by TV football and planning early Black Friday shopping sprees. Many folks either go to a casino or local restaurant for dinner or have pizza delivered.

A few years ago, my parents thought it would be nice to have all the family gather once again for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at our old home. I have three older sisters and with the addition of husbands, children and grandchildren, that made a rather large gathering. My mother was an outstanding cook, and with the addition of dishes from others, no one was about to go home hungry. The dining room table was covered from end-to-end with food and each person picked up a plate and table service to dine cafeteria-style. We took our loaded plates to another room where the majority of us dined around a ping-pong table. Card tables were assembled for the rest and the room was filled with happy eaters.

Now, unlike most families, our family is a bit different. I won't say we are totally dysfunctional but differences do arise when we are together. My oldest sister married an over-the-road trucker; the second sister married a highway trooper; the third one married a scientist-of-sorts that is a vegetarian, and I married a cattle rancher that raises beef for a living; so you can see some contrasts in the in-law department. Add that to the fact that several family members have what they call "their children," but the children they bring along are the canine type.

My mother never allowed any of her children to have so much as a goldfish in the house, but apparently these family members must have forgot that fact, for in her home that was bulging with people, was three small dogs and a large black lab. All was well until after dinner. Although tensions were high, there were no major outbreaks of discourse through mealtime. After dinner, while sister number two and I were doing dishes, our mother expressed her displeasure of the dogs in the house, so I, being the helpful soul I am, assured her I would at least get the lab out of there. The weather was quite cold outside and the garage attached to the house was where I accidentally (on purpose) shut the lab into. Thinking the little dogs would settle down and nap if I fed them, I fixed little plates of scraps right there in the kitchen before returning them to their owners who were relaxing in the living room.

You have to understand that, being raised by a mother who never allowed pets, I did not know pet rules and thought I had done a good deed and just killed two birds with one stone, ie: got the dogs from underfoot and fed them well. The lab also ate well as I did not realize that my mother had left a pan full of excess turkey and dressing atop the deep freezer in that cold garage. The lab managed to pull the lid off the roaster and enjoy every last bit of what was to be reheated and used for supper.

To make a long story short, the football game was interrupted by a horrendous odor emitted by the little dogs, when someone shouted, "Did someone feed my little fido table scraps? House dogs are not to eat people food!" Number two sis, my mother and I all remained silent. It was about that time when the owner of the lab discovered his dog's indiscretion and spent the rest of the afternoon driving around the neighborhood, with the dog on a leash following along his jeep, with a bad case of the turkey trots.

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Several family members parted earlier than planned, with their ailing dogs in tow. Those of us who remained, enjoyed a quiet evening snack of grilled cheese sandwiches and salads, and will always remember a Thanksgiving dinner that literally went to the dogs!

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